Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach, Chapter 60: Nighteye’s Interest
East Peak fell with a pat and half the blade’s edge sank into earth.
Qianye held the sword in both hands after landing and almost fell down himself. He gasped urgently—his entire body was heating up at a frightening pace, and there was white steam gus.h.i.+ng out of his nostrils.
He had just cut down an arachne viscount with two slashes, and although this feat seemed effortless, it had taken everything he had. The two strikes from East Peak were both agile and heavy in equal measures. He had poured out almost all the origin power in his body in an extremely short period and was now finding it difficult to even stand straight.
However, the arachne viscount was slaughtered head-on, and this scene immediately shook everyone present. The dark race defenders found their morale collapsing in the blink of an eye, and they started scrambling in all directions. Dark Flame soldiers continuously chased them down in squads, but it was only to prevent the routed army from rea.s.sembling—it wasn’t quite possible to wipe them out completely.
Those high-ranking servspiders similarly escaped into the wilderness after being deprived of the arachne’s control. The low-ranking servspiders, on the other hand, turned violent and advanced dauntlessly in continuous waves. But such cannon-fodder level troops weren’t a threat at all in the face of superior firepower and were mowed down in droves.
Qianye breathed heavily for a while before slowly calming down. He waved his hand, indicating to his guards that he didn’t need any support. He then brought out a stimulant syringe and injected it into his arm. Moments later, wisps of origin power were regenerated in his body, and his countenance regained some color.
At this moment, a fully armed Lil’ Seven approached and asked in a concerned tone, “Master, are you alright?”
“I’m fine, only a bit tired. Be careful with the cleanup process and capture as many technicians alive as possible.”
Lil’ Seven replied, “Rest a.s.sured, Master.”
Qianye still couldn’t get rid of the emptiness within him brought about by the exhaustion of origin power. He immediately lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply.
Dark Flame’s elites didn’t need Qianye’s instructions. They worked on their own, tending to the wounded, checking casualties, and reforming into numerous combat units to search the mine. The miners and technicians who weren’t able to run away were all moved to an open ground where they were interviewed by a major who came from the Ningyuan Group and separated according to their professions.
There were a fair number of werewolves among the technicians, but most of them were vampires. There was even a rarely seen demonkin among them who was immediately isolated and interrogated in detail. He was unexpectedly quite cooperative and basically answered everything he was asked.
Qianye was quite interested in the demonkin and walked over as soon as he had recovered some origin power. “How did it go? Did you find out anything?”
Lil’ Nine didn’t even get the chance to reply when the demonkin cut her short. “No need for her to speak. I’ll tell you everything. I’m called Percy, a grand metal thaumaturge from the ancient and honorable nation of the Pool of Deep Darkness. I am here as chief technician on His Excellency Count Stuka’s invitation, and my contract term is one year.”
“All the mining vehicles you see here are my products!” At this point, the demonkin’s expression was full of pride.
A flash of astonishment flitted across Qianye’s countenance. He nodded and said, “Very good.”
Percy said proudly, “I admit you’ve captured me. As a son of darkness, I have the right to let my country pay ransom in exchange for my freedom, but the Pool of Deep Darkness evaluates the members of its race differently, and the standardized ransom also varies. Lucky human, I must warn you that you only have one chance at obtaining a ransom. Don’t try to haggle.”
Qianye couldn’t help but chuckle. “Oh is that so? Very well then. I shall forfeit this opportunity. Lil’ Nine, lock him up and watch him carefully. Understand what I mean?”
“As you wish, Master.” Lil’ Nine responded in a very obedient att.i.tude, but she soon revealed her true appearance after turning around and walking toward Percy with a rope weaved from thin metallic filaments.
Percy’s expression changed greatly and began to shout while stomping about, “You can’t do this to me. Stay away! You’re a little demoness disguised as a beauty!”
Qianye couldn’t help shaking his head in laughter. He then turned around and went deeper into the mine.
Seeing that Qianye was about to leave, Percy became even more anxious and shouted toward Qianye’s receding figure, “I’m Percy, a grand metal thaumaturge! You’re all treating a son of darkness in contempt. What are you doing? Don’t do this, let’s talk nicely. Oh! Ahhhh!”
Qianye had already arrived near the mine shaft when he heard all that and broke into a laughter once again. He then jumped down into the depths.
Qianye landed at the bottom with a thud and smashed a big hole in the floor. He then got up as though nothing had happened and began to observe his surroundings. The bottom of the mine was about a kilometer in radius, and there were six or seven mining machines scattered throughout the place.
Only up close did he truly understand what a colossus meant—just their wheels alone were as tall as twenty meters. Beside them, Qianye looked like an ant standing near an elephant’s foot. He couldn’t help but sigh in admiration.
Qianye had learnt basic knowledge regarding machines and knew that, despite their fairly uncomplicated structure, it wasn’t easy to build mining machines of such size. This was the work of a true master. If these machines were all designed by Percy, then his t.i.tle as a metal thaumaturge probably wasn’t a bluff.
Qianye reached out to touch the wheels and felt that he had really picked up a treasure this time. The value of that demonkin called Percy was indescribable. With his technology and the Ningyuan Group’s rapidly expanding manufacturing power, countless war machines would roll out continuously from the factory and toward the frontline.
To h.e.l.l with that little bit of ransom from the Pool of Deep Darkness.
Qianye walked around one of the mining machines and felt increasing pity. He simply couldn’t take away such a gigantic fellow and could only let it sit here as a funerary object.
Otherwise, if he could drive it to the frontline, ordinary origin guns wouldn’t be able to penetrate it. He could definitely install a heavy cannon on the st.u.r.dy roof and blast the enemies directly—it would be just like a mobile battery.
But there were also other benefits apart from these leviathan machines. For instance, there were close to a hundred cargo trucks in the parking lot beside the mine. With some modification, they could be made into different types of special military vehicles.
Qianye bent down, grabbed a handful of black stones from the ground, and crushed them in his hand. They were all ordinary black stones with no special characteristics—not that he could identify them even if they did.
Qianye shook his head and patted his hands clean, discarding the powder to the ground. No matter what secrets the dark races were hiding here, they would be revealed once enough territory was occupied.
Ten-odd Dark Flame warriors appeared at the border of the mining pit at this moment, each of them carrying large wooden barrels which they hurled into the pit with great effort. The wooden barrels rolled, bounced, and then shattered at the base of the pit, filling the air with a pungent smell.
Those barrels contained purified black stone powder and ignition additives. This was also the kinetic power source for heavy trucks and could burn for prolonged periods of time. Moments later, more Dark Flame soldiers appeared in another direction and tossed down a dozen or so fuel barrels.
Qianye didn’t linger any longer. He began to climb back up along the side and exited the hundred-meter deep mine pit.
Lil‘ Seven, after seeing Qianye from a distance, said, “Master, all important materials have been checked and loaded onto the trucks, but we’re short on manpower, and there are thirty more cargo trucks that we can’t drive away.”
“Destroy all that we can’t take.”
Lil’ Seven nodded and left to fulfill the commands. Moments later, Lil’ Nine also hurried over and said, “Master, all important captives have been loaded into the cars, and we’re ready to leave at any time. There are still hundreds of useless captives. What shall we do with them? Shall we push them into the pit?”
Qianye shook his head. “No need. We still need someone to bring word to Count Stuka. Tie them up, throw them to one side, and leave them there.”
Lil’ Nine replied yes sir, then added, “Things have been set up in the mining pit, and the men have withdrawn to a safe distance. When shall we ignite?”
“Do it now.” With that, Qianye tossed out a combustion grenade he had prepared beforehand.
The grenade reflected the sunlight and turned into a dazzling meteor which flew close to a thousand meters and fell into the middle of the mine pit. A ball of flames blossomed from the bottom of the pit and immediately ignited the fuel flowing freely throughout the place. Numerous blazing dragons rolled toward every direction, and within the blink of an eye, the giant pit had transformed into a flaming inferno.
“All is done. Let’s go.”
Qianye turned and walked out of the mine area—behind him, an earth-shattering explosion resounded as enormous metallic parts flew hundreds of meters into the sky and then fell down once again.
That was the mining vehicles’ last moment of glory.
At this moment, there was a certain majestic castle standing atop a distant mountain peak, and its scale, history, and acc.u.mulation weren’t things Count Stuka’s castle could ever hope to catch up to. In the main building of the castle, Nighteye was standing before the French window and gazing at the distant horizon.
The sky at this time shouldn’t have darkened just yet.
A ma.s.sive shadow hung over the end of the horizon and almost occupied half of the sky in her vision. That was the Western Continent, more commonly known to the dark races as Flaming Beacon Continent.
And on the other side of the horizon, another shadow was slowly moving over.
This was a scene unique to Evernight Continent. It always seemed so magnificent and yet it always made people despair like so.
Nighteye stood there in unmoving silence just like a statue.
It was at this time that the room doors were opened and in walked a woman who was even slightly taller than Nighteye. She had short faint golden hair and a pair of cold eyes seemingly capable of dragging out a person’s soul.
“Twilight, I’ll tell you for the last time, I don’t want to be disturbed. I’ll crush your blood core if you keep coming uninvited.”
It seemed as though Twilight hadn’t heard Nighteye’s threats at all. She walked toward Nighteye on her own and stood abreast to gaze at the rosy vista together. “As expected of a primo who’s awakened the ancestral bloodline. You already dare speak to me, someone on the verge of advancing to count, in such a tone just after becoming a third-rank viscount. My dear elder sister, should I say that your courage is laudable or that you’re foolish?”
Nighteye replied coldly, “Try me if you think I’m bluffing.”
Twilight turned to gaze deeply at Nighteye with a pair of blood-colored pupils. She then shrugged and said, “I’m not interested in such fights. Our Monroe clan has already taken too many losses recently. There’s no need for more infighting. I’m only curious why you’re coming to Evernight Continent regularly. Just what is attracting you here?”
“That’s none of your business.”
Twilight suddenly laughed. As keen as she was, the former had sensed a change in Nighteye’s tone of voice. This variation was extremely minute, but perception happened to be her specialty. Nothing of significance could escape her, no matter how small the change.
As such, she decided to press on with this topic.